On 2 September, First West of England, part of FirstGroup and the largest of the bus companies operating in the area, announced that several bus routes will be axed completely and many others will be changed.
The initial list of routes was revealed by the West England Combined Authority Mayor, Dan Norries, saying:
“We’ve thrown the kitchen sink at it, but ultimately we need more bus drivers”.
This reason was echoed by the Managing Director of First West of England, known locally as ‘First Bus’, saying:
“Unfortunately, the world has changed more than we predicted and we are still seeing a significantly lower level of bus use, as well as different travel patterns across our network. On top of this, like the rest of the bus industry and other sectors, we are operating against the backdrop of rising business costs and labour shortages that are particularly acute in our area.”
There was plenty of anger at the cutting of these routes. When talking to Christine Townsend, Bristol Councillor for Southville, she told me these cuts could have a wider impact because of the Cost of Living Crisis, saying:
“That is only going to make people more isolated and it’s going to make people less able to get out of their homes in order to access any support that might be in place where they physically have to be there because they need to be warmed”
FirstBus have announced three new routes to replace the cut or changed ones:
- The No. 47, operating from Bristol City Centre, Lewins Mead to Yate via City Road,
- the No. 74 operating mainly in the University area of UWE, Frenchay Campus & the City Centre and
- the No. 379 which will operate the routes between Bristol and Bath, including the areas around Bath like Radstock, Peasedown St. John and Odd Down.
Please watch the video below and tell us what your thoughts.